Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Rainy Days & Lack of Comments Get Me Down"

Did I actually say I'd be glad to see the rain move in? Geez. What sort of idiot was I when I said that? (No. No need to answer that question.) Anyway, after three days of it pouring the proverbial cats and dogs and I'm glad to see it ending tomorrow with the sun supposingly making a reappearance and the temperatures back up to the mid-80's.

The most we suffered at home from it was a small leak in the kitchen right in front of the sink (naturally it couldn't be OVER the sink). Inspecting this I discovered a pushed up shingle probably caused by the high winds the other night; no "big deal" to repair. Outside of that all I've discovered was some small limbs down and a very over-saturated lawn.

There's been bad flooding here in places in Kentucky. Local schools have even been closed that were near rivers. A county or two have even been declared disaster areas (but nothing like they had it down South). I feel sorry for our farmers as well. First they had weeks of drought, then days of flooding. Bad enough that they can't make any money on the "soul crop" of Kentucky (tobacco) these days without it destroying anything else they're trying to survive on.

And so, on to other things.

"I told you so" Department: Remember when I said I'd delete the "A Puck's Tale" blog if I didn't get comments? Well folks, "it's history". In the (nearly a month's) time I had it posted I got no more than 5 comments, all of which were in short e-mails. So, it's gonesville, daddio.

But I'm not totally discouraged from lack of interest in my work. In fact, within the next couple of weeks when I have some "extra" time, I'm going to go thru several hundred pages of illustrations I've done over the past 35 of so years. I'm going to pick out 10 or 12 illustrations I've done and post them in a new "personal sketch page" blog of sorts. What I put there will depend greatly on the quality of the paper and condition some of this artwork may be in, as a great percentage of it is stored in a large, old suitcase stored in the out-building. So, if the rats or bugs or whatever haven't gotten to it, I'll present sort of a "Time Capsule" of artwork from the time I first started submitting it to amateur publications, to some present day stuff. I may even have a cover or two from some fanzine art I did and thought was "okay". Naturally I'll post a link to it when this new blog is ready and announce it in my post.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"Tribute to The King of Comics"

On this date in 1917, Jack Kirby, who will always be remembered as The King of Comics was born. Had he remained among us to this day, by my reconing he would have been 88 years old.

Although Mr. Kirby will always be known for such comics as "The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Thor, Mr. Miracle, New Gods" and so many others, my favorites will always be fond memories of those Monster/Fantasy Tales he did in mostly the pre-super-hero days of Marvel, and that appeared in such titles as Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, Strange Tales & Journey Into Mystery.

So, with this in mind, I am adding a new link to the bottom of the list that will take you right to some decent sets of scans of the stories he did for those titles.

I hope someone who is not familiar with this material, will discover the joy of reading them much the way I did as a kid.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"My Annual Gift Shop Visits"

I'll actually be glad to see the rain start moving in this week locally to cool down things a bit. Last week it was just 75 one day, but it was hard to tell it due to the humidity. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 80's all next week, tho'.

I haven't complained much about the heat this year, even though it's been one of the hottest Summer's I can ever recall. I guess it's because we had such a bitter cold Winter last year that I welcomed any heat at all. And, one thing about not having rain is that I haven't had to mow this lawn as many times. In fact, I don't believe I've mowed it but about 6 or 7 times the whole year. Weeds continued to grow, however (which they'd do no matter "what" the temperatures are).

The local flea market was dead today. Instead, I drove over to the interstate area and visited a couple of our gift shops that are located on The Mammoth Cave Road. I usually do this at least once a year just to see what's new out that way. As I pulled into the parking lot at the first one, I noticed a banner saying "Old Baseball Cards & Comics For Sale". Checking out the comics I saw from 200-300 modern books in various stacks and started looking thru them, to eventually pull out 5 misc. comics. The only book of real interest here may be the Static No.1. Static was the only character from DC's Milestone experiment of the 1990's that caught on. In fact, there was eventually an animated series called "Static Shock" created from the book (which still is shown). It was nice to pick up a copy of this cheap just to have it since it's the first app. of the character.

Went by another gift shop, but nothing interesting; typical stuff they sell to the tourists who come to visit our national park.

Drove by the "Dinosaur Park", and that's pretty neat. They have a huge T-Rex standing in the trees just off the interstate exit that you can actually go right up to. The thing towers a good twenty foot over one's head. And at the entrance to their parking lot is a full-size Tricerotops as well. Their entrance is decorated by other dinosaurs, too. Might be a little costy to get into (at least $6. a person), but I've heard it's well-worth the visit. They may have a "county day" again this year where locals can visit free. If so, I do indeed plan a visit (maybe even take a few pics and post them here).

Monday, August 22, 2005

"A Monday Post"

Really, you'd think that since it's been a good two weeks since I first did the "A Puck's Tale" blog spot, that by now I'd have some sort of comments.

It's not that nobody's recognized it. I've had plugs in two well known blogger spots that I know of for certain; yet, the comments box remains empty. So...maybe nobody cares for it? maye everyone that reads it thinks that no comments are better than ones that criticize? "Whatever". I'm giving it one full month and if by that time there remains no interest, I'll just delete it. Maybe I'll use that space for a while instead just to show some misc. pieces of artwork I've done and never pubbed.

In what little spare time I've had here lately, there's been no time to do any new artwork, however. I've barely had time to try to catch up on any reading. But I have managed to read the first 5 issues (finally) of the DC-Vertigo title: Fables. Why hasn't sumbodi told me this title is so good! I've stopped reading anything else just trying to absorb the decent writing contained within these comics!

And, in other news...I finally got in a copy of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories (Dell) #134 (1951) that I'd won last month on an auction. Sorta slow getting here. It arrived 1 day less than a month from the time the auction ended. The book is in Gd/VG shape I suppose; not as nice looking as the seller's scan made it out to be. But it's still a pretty nice collectable since it has a great Carl Barks' cover and Uncle Scrooge/Donald Duck story. I don't really collect WDC&S much these days, but I saw it at a cheap starting price and wanted it just because I've never owned or read this particular issue before; it's the first appearance of Uncle Scooge's old enemies, The Beagle Boys. But they only have just a cameo at the end of the story. The story mostly revolves around US finding out the BBs have escapes prison and are determined to rob US of his fortune, so Scrooge and Donald set about trying different ways to keep them from doing so. When they finally do appear in the last panel, they don't look a whole lot like we know them today. Their faces are more "dog-like" and sinister.

Another interesting comic I've gotten in is a Black Magic (Prize Publications) V7 #5 (1960), which intereted me mostly because Hitler is on the cover. Now I wouldn't think this odd if the book had been a war comic; but this isn't. BM is more of a sf/horror/suspense title by 1960, so I bought it mainly just because of this oddity.

With that BM I also won a copy of DC's Anthro #1(1968), which is the character's second appearance after being in an issue of Showcase. I always loved these Howie Post books! (Cavemen, Wooly Mammoths, prehistoric women "cat-fighting"; what's not to love?!)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Slow Times"

After three weeks with no rain, earlier this week we finally got a bit so I decided that I'd finally try to mow the yard. Now, this task usually takes me a little bit over an hour using a push mower. Not so this time. I started at about a quarter to 4PM and mowed probably 45 minutes and ran out of gas. So I came inside to cool off a bit. Then went back out again and refilled the mower and mowed for another 45 minutes...and ran out of gas again. And once again, went back inside to cool off.

It wasn't the heat it was the humidity sort of thing that kept dehydrating a person trying to work any outdoors yesterday. Plus the grass was as thick as artificial turf. I was literally either dragging the mower behind me, or pushing it extremely slow in a "penquin walk" to try to keep it from choking out (which it still did all the same, adding to the aggravation or having to restart it each time).

But finally about nightfall it was done, and I quickly cleaned out from under the mower, filled the birdbaths and watered the flowers and outdoor plants and filled the bird/squirrel feeders and was finished. And it was a good thing that I did do it yesterday because it came at least two heavy showers today which would have made it all the more difficult to mow (or I'd had to wait until it all dried out and done it on another day).

Along the way during all of this, good friend Dave Jones, aka "Johnny Bacardi" dropped by to deliver the current issue of Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy (#3) which he's been kind enough to pick up for me on a regular basis (a title which when it's finished I'll give a review of here).

Outside of that not much new. Went by an antique mall where one dealer has several boxes of cheap comics and found two issues each of Animal Man, and Hex I didn't have. Went by my father-in-laws to fix a sensor on his security light and the one he bought was a bad one, so he had to take that back . I'll have to go back up there again sometime to once again try fixing it.

Slow at work today due to gas prices, being towards the end of the month and this current recession we seem to be going through.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Getting 'Round"

Got a very nice plug for my various blogs over on Fred Hembeck's place today. You outta go visit him. He always has something interesting "going on"! (Thanks, Fred!)

Not a whole lot to report today. Just some misc. Like I've read all three of the Sandman presents Lucifer lmt. series as well as the Nirvana Special now, plus I'm up to issue #42 in the regular Lucifer series. Hope to be be finally caught up with all that series by the end of the week so I can move on to the set of Transmetropolitan, and finally on to finishing reading all of The Preacher. (In fact, I may read The Preacher's next.

'Got the next two days off from work with no great plans save that my yard may finally need a mowing after three weeks of drought. Plus I need to go visit my father-in-law and help him do a few chores. Outside of that I need to relax some 'cause I have a 6 day straight run of work days afterwards.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"Weird, Weird, Weird"

This was just odd enough for me to to have to link. (And you know...thinking back about one of my own UFO encounters, we were riding in a VW and actually playing an 8-Track Tape!*heh*)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

"My Past Mistake"

Sometimes one's mind can play tricks on ya.

I had been under the assumption that the earliest comic book I had actually owned was dated December, 1955. It's that "3 Camels" cover version of Classics Illustrated Special Edition #129:"The Story of Jesus" which was given to every member of my Bible School Class at Christmas. So, I figured I was around 4-1/2 years old when I got that.

Until today when I received a copy of the same book, but with the "Jesus on The Mountain" cover variation. Looking it up in The Overstreet Price Guide, I realized my mistake. The one I got in today was indeed from 12/55, but the one I got as a kid was December, 1958, three years later!

I knew there was "something odd" about remembering that, because I remembered that I could actually read the comic, which at four years old would have been a bit of a stretch. Even though my mom and late brother would read stories to me and I would follow along from "Tell-A-Tale", "Little Golden" and other story-type books, reading with a good comprehension at four would have been still a bit "off".

No wonder I could read the thing; I was already seven years old and in the 2nd. Grade when I got it! Still, that's close to 50 years with my association of the American comic book. More than that, actually, since my brother had comics around from the time I was born (and before), but I'm glad I finally got that little piece of my childhood memory fixed!

Friday, August 12, 2005

"Ah---Whatta Gyp!"

Remember when I posted this some time back?

Mars Spectacular!
June 2005
Most of the information in this one is true, but it was in 2003 not 2005. Someone apparently found an old e-mail about the closest approach of Mars in 2003 and sent it around again, not realizing that the event was over with two years ago.
Mars Spectacular!

The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! This month and next, Earth is
catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest
approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may
come this close is in 2287. Due to the was Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars
and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not
come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as
60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within
34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest
object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear
25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75 power magnification Mars will look as
large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot. At the
beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth
at about 3 a.m.
By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars
will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m.
That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in
recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see
Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Share this with your children and grandchildren, your friends.

Well, save your eyes, folks. Turns out this was all just a hoax! It happened two years ago! (Wadda disapointment!)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"The Unexpected"

Today I had someone do something that has actually restored a little of my faith in human beings.

About a week ago I had (for the second time since I've lived in my current home of four years), a "No Trespassing" sign stolen and thrown "somewhere" out in the tall bushes where it couldn't be found.

Needless to say, this pissed me off. I have always allowed the neighbors to cut across my yard because it leads right to a little shopping area where there's a variety store and grocery. Several of my neighbors are somewhat disabled, or old, and this saves them a lot of walking around the area and next to the highway. In fact, and I had told everyone this, that the only reason I had the signs up was to prevent any law suits in case someone was to accidently hurt themselves while on my property, or to deter people that are not from our area just cutting across, or to keep anyone off the yard that might want to purposely cause damage. It made me so mad in fact, that I threatened to either put up a fence and stop everyone from trespassing, or just move and let someone else fool with this problem.

The day it came up missing, I "caught" one of the neighborhood kids walking across it and pretty much laid down the law. Told him that he was welcomed to cut across the yard, but to pass the word around that I wasn't going to take the crap anymore.

A while ago, two young boys came to my door, sign in hand returning it to me where they said they'd found it in the tall weeds. I thanked them both and complimented them on being both nice people.

No, I won't be putting the sign back up again. I think everyone has finally gotten the point.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Beatles Sighting"

Just a heads up for all of you Beatles fans out there. Next week's TV Guide features a Tribute to The Beatles'Shea Stadium concert that happened 40 years ago.

There are four different photo covers, each featuring a seperate Beatle, plus an interior article with LOTS of photos! So keep an eye out for it.

Plus, for you comic books fans, this issue also has a Curt Swan illustration of Braniac on their Cheers & Jeers page.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Changing The Subject, Here..."

You know, I had this really long-winded historical/political blog post I was going to post, but decided against it. Really, what the hell do I really know about politics anyway? And thinking about it all, it's really not very important. The situations in the world have been and will always be the same as it ever was. besides I'd probably just piss a lot of people off with my viewpoint,so, enough about that.

I'll completely change the subject and comment on the Justice League Unlimited from tonight instead. In fact, I've already blogged a post about this episode a while back, but it was just sooo darn good! It's the one where Captain Marvel was in The League and he and Superman have this terrific battle with sound effects that really place you on the scene! Captain Marvel really translates wonderfully into animated form!

Starting out with Metamorpho fighting The Parasite and Elongated Man already defeated and lying on the ground unconscious and Batman actually calling League Headquarters to ask The Martian Manhunter for some back-up help, this episode was strong throughout.

And I like the extra little stuff they pour into this animated series, such as the cameo of Green Arrow and The Black Canary sitting at a table in the back of the JLA rec' room, or of "Fire and Ice" walking down the HQ corridor. "Billy Batson" was drawn very faithfully to the original Golden Age C.C. Beck version, and it was this particular episode that set the underlying theme for the whole current season.

Things I'd like to see in future new episodes? How about the team of " Dr. Fate, the Spectre, The Phantom Stranger and Zantanna " taking on a mystical villian? Neither The Spectre , or The Stranger have been shown in the series so far, so I think that'd be pretty neat.

Or how about a team-up with "Captain Atom, The Blue Beetle and The Question"? An all-Charlton hero fest! There's so many possibilities still to be explored with this series.

'Shame the new Batman animated series isn't as good. I think I've finally gotten a little more used to that angular face drawn on the character, but I'm far from satisfied with the way some of his villians are depicted (especially "The Joker").

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"Just About Anything Can Teach Us Something"

In my yard on one side of the house, I planted three clumps of ornamental grass for my wife. These are planeted about 6 feet apart. Today I happen to notice that the clump towards the front of the house is only about 1-1/2 ft. tall, the middle one's about 2' or better, while the third one is over 3 ft. in height.

The clumps were all planted at the same time, the nutrients in the soil are the same and they all receive equal amounts of watering. So...why is the back plant taller than the others? That can be summed up in one word:

Location. Sorta like what's the difference between an angel and a demon. The middle and back plants receive more sunlight; the far back one is closer to where I planted a cactus garden purposely in the open sunlight, whereas the middle one receives less sun and finally the smallest is mostly in the shade.

This is sorta like a lesson in life. When we are in the brightness of others, we thrive; when we live in gloom, our growth as individuals is stunted.

Over the years I've met an equal amount of people that share each aspect. Those that thrive and grow in life are always "in the sunshine", helping others, keeping a cheerful attitude and making the best with what they have.

Those people whom I've met that are always depressed seem to run around with similiar people with that attitude, never "get anywhere", and never amount to anything, always wanting what they'll never achieve, and are always putting everydown down.

So, may we all Be in the Sunlight.